I'll never forget how I first met Vladimír Černohorský. Pavel Borowiec, Chief Editor of Pivo, Bier & Ale had asked me to meet him at Pivovar U Valšů.
The brewpub had recently changed owners and had hired Černohorský to put their brewing shit together.
I arrived at about the agreed time, and went downstairs. There I was greeted by two geezers sitting at a table next to the brerwhouse. The older one defiantly asked me what I was doing there. After I told him, he stood up, pulled a pocked knife and said something threatening.
It didn't scare me, but amused me, and this old man responded with a huge, honest smile. He told me to take a sit, and get a beer, while I waited for my colleague, who should be arriving any time.
We met again some days later on a trip to the Annafest. There I learnt who Vladimír Černohorský was, one of the most respected and admired Brew Masters in the Czech Republic; and that he'd been in the field for over half a century.
That was enough to impress me, but when I heard him that he still felt he could learn a few things, I began to admire him—someone not only knows a lot and still loves what he does, but also to know more, that's a true master!
On the second evening of that trip we were sharing a table, talking, and at one point he looked at me in the eye and declared that we should be friends. I felt honoured.
We did become friends. He was the head brewer at Únětický Pivovar, and we met on countless occasions. I would jokingly call him Děda (Gramps), and I could sit hours listening to his stories—he had tonnes of them, one better than next.
Earlier today I was told he'd died.
I've lost a friend. But the Czech beer community has lost a lot more than that. It has lost a true Master, a Gentleman and an all around Great Bloke, and with him all his stories worth telling
People come and go, stories worth telling should remain. I wish I had taken the time to record Vlaďa's.
But I don't want to feel too sad. He wouldn't like it. Let's do like Švejk, and go to our local to get a Tmavé Pivo, it's a day of mourning.
|Photo: Únětický Pivovar